Saturday, December 25, 2010

Linus Christmas Monologue




Merry Christmas to all!!!  Lots of hugs and good wishes for everyone!  This is what Christmas is all about: Christ, our Lord!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rest in Him


I struggle with the hustle and bustle of this season like most people. I'm worried about money, I'm worried about gifts, I'm consumed with vacuuming the little chunks of dirt encrusted, leaf particle thingies that invade the front hall and garage doorway EVERY time someone walks in or out of our house (they are just so unsightly, and make me feel like I haven't cleaned, which is ironic because I'm cleaning even more just trying to get rid of those little buggers). So, I am especially drawn to church this time of year to be reminded of Christ's birth, and the message of hope.

Hope not only for the whole world, but for ME.

He came for me, He loves me, He has faith in me, He has hope for me.

This year, this season is especially challenging for me to be able to rest in Him; to be content in Him. I'm trying, for sure, and I'm praying hard. I don't struggle with my faith, don't misunderstand me... I'm just struggling with not having clear answers about some things, and struggling with being patient. It's that patience, that contentment, that resting that I'm especially trying so hard to achieve.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven..."

It's my daily prayer, right now. In everything, to have patience, and to rest, to be content with the plans that God is ordering, and to love are the most important aspects of enjoying the Christmas season, and of living the Christmas season.

The other stuff is surely important, but try (with me) to not let it interfere with your relationship with God. Enjoy your self, your church, your families, and your Christ. He came for you. Don't be afraid to rest.




Our good friends took this Christmas picture for us! I wanted to share!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It was a Busy Weekend!



My middle baby is ten! TEN, 10, double digits, ten.  It's crazy.  Why is it so crazy?  I think because she looks 13 years old, she wears my shoes, and has always been a bit more settled for her years than most of her peers.  None of this is bad, and this isn't a complaint at all.  It is just amazing that my first daughter is ten.



My husband graduated with his BSN this weekend!  While the man already has a Bachelors degree, (and like, five associates degrees) this is way exciting!  First of all, he won't be so insanely busy, and second of all, the BSN opens many career opportunities for him.  We are so blessed to have such a motivated man in the house.  He is such a great role model, too.  Just about everyone around him told him not to do it, it was too hard, he was already too busy, it would never work... Well, he made it work.  And so we celebrated this weekend.  And, yes, graduate school is next.


Also, just because this is so sweet:  My husband helped to rescue a dog last week.  The same man who told us ,"nothing else with a heart beat," stood in the cold and wet and helped fish a dog out of an icy pond.  This dog had been running with her owner when she ran over an ice covered pond.  Unfortunately, the ice cracked and she fell in.  She was able to hold her front half up on the ice shelf, but she couldn't pull herself all the way up and out.  The firefighters and medics actually had to put on submersion suits, and they were able to break up some of the ice to create a path to walk out to get the dog and pull her to shore.  Mark and the other rescuers then took her to the ambulance to warm her up.  Apparently the dog was in the water for about 15 minutes and crying.  Mark told us he would have dived in after her if she couldn't hold on any longer, even though it's kind of against the rules to do that.  Anyway, the dog is fine!



Many prayers and blessings to everyone this week!  Please pray for my sweet neighbor and her family.  They had to take an emergency trip home this weekend for a very sick father/ father-in-law.  It is so hard to face loss.  Pray for peace and faithfulness during this difficult time. 

Matthew 6:34; "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Because it tends to be an already overwhelming season, I thought I would close with the calming voice from the Gospel that tells us not to worry about the future.  We should seek first the Kingdom of God.  God knows what we need, and it will be given to us. 



Have faith.  Pray.  Love.  Trust.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

twisted


My  Nutcracker Twisted  girls! 

A "Twizzler" (aka:   Danielle)...
and...
A "Candy Cane" (aka:  Katie)...
 




















These were taken back stage prior to the performance. Check our Daniellie doing a toe stand, and Katia popping an attitude!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent greetings!


Mary and Jesus
(from Graphicsfairy)
Greetings!  It's a good week, but chilly (OK... COLD).  I'm trying to feel warm and peaceful at the moment!  Mark graduates this Saturday! We are all so excited!  The Nutcracker went well last week.  We are all so excited about that, too!!!

My Own Little World Stop-Motion Video by Aly D
Check out this video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP5mYOzOvCs&feature=youtube_gdata_player


This is such a sweet video made by an obviously, very talented, young lady.  I think the message is especially poignant. 

Such a week, here!  We are half-heartily finishing a week of school... and I tell you, none of us are in the mood.  We are just trying to get things done so we can take a good, long break!  We all need to regroup and refocus.  That being said, we are officially done with ancient history!  We finished the fall of Rome yesterday. 

It is so very cold.  The house won't even warm up to the temperature I've dialed into the thermostat.  I feel like it's laughing at me with a sarcastic undertone of, "you are so dreaming if you think I can heat your house up to 68 degrees when it is, like, 12 degrees outside!"  Yep.  Talking to the thermostat.  That's normal, right?



[]
an abandoned pup curls up with Baby Jesus... what we should all do sometimes...

(my Mother-in-Law emailed me this picture of an outside Nativity scene

So- I'm thinking of the cold and under-served today.  I'm even going to ask everyone to remember that it isn't our own little world... Anyone can make a huge difference with just a small act.  Who knows?  You may be unwittingly in the company of angels. Say a prayer!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!

Check out this video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The ending actually made me cry... so beautiful!  I just had to share!

picture update!

Just because I'm so way behind, and haven't had access to the computer that actually talks to the picture folder; I am dedicating a post to updating my friend's and family on photographs (good alliteration, eh?):


Trick or Treat!


Hello! That is just a very big bird...


Bonjour, Butterfly!


one half of out Thanksgiving table... sweet, wise Gma is in the middle


The Christmas tree is up!


Love, Me!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Mandatory Zoo Excursion


sent from my iphone - if all else fails, there could be several picture posts via i phone!

The Week of Thanksgiving

What a week!! It was great visiting with family in Jacksonville, Florida!  My Heavens, the weather was fantastic all week.  The girls "heelied" (those crazy roller skating shoes) several afternoons, we ate out and shopped at some outlet malls, and went to the zoo and a very fun craft fair.  The zoo, the shopping, and the craft fair are annual Thanksgiving events... I'm glad the weather was nice!

My sweet, wise G-Ma is getting very old but is still so wise.  I worry about her because she is so very sweet, and insists on doing things herself (which is great for independence, but not so great for those of us who worry about her safety).  Pray for my G-Ma! Please!  And for my uncle who takes care of her and her old house!  I wish I could live in Florida and help take care of her... 'cause that's how I roll... I like to take care of things (people, situations, etc.).
Our Nutcracker performance is this Saturday!!!  I can't wait (for it to be over)!  Everyone is getting super excited about the performance. Of course, there is some drama... but I hope and pray for the best.

I'm sorry to have to post without pictures, but the computer is apparently having a crises... I will hopefully get this fixed by tomorrow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

whirlwind-ish

                                                     

dance time... Nutcracker time.... 







Dance rehearsal, costume (but not a full dress rehearsal) required, today.  I have created stressed out girls by not letting them open their brand new tights.  Dance tights are $10.00 per pair, times two per dancer, times three of us equals waaaay too much money for the brand new ones to be opened for the costume rehearsal-but-not-the-full-dress-rehearsal. Hmmmmm.... I know we have tights, the required tights, from the recital a mere 6 months ago, somewhere... BUT, I can't find my white tutu!  Now, that is something I know isn't heard in every household across the world, but it's actually kind of funny! But really, I know I wouldn't have thrown my white tutu away (even though the leotard part of it was very hideous)...



Anyway-  I know a lot of people are travelling this week- so, many, many prayers to you all for safe journeys!  I also pray for a refreshing holiday for everyone.  I hope everyone can give thanks and glory to God for the blessings in their lives.  I know that we get caught up in the day-to-day, but Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the good things.

                                                                     rib1.gif - 3.3 K

I'm thinking, also, of my friend that is fighting ovarian and breast cancer.  She is so brave and sweet.  I don't talk to her like I should, but I pray heartily every day for good news and an effective treatment.  I also have a friend that is moving into a brand new house.  While exciting, this time is so stressful for her and her family.  She is trying so hard to make things right for her girls and her husband, and I admire her so much.  I wish I could be there to help her with decorating decisions! 

So.... Happy, happy holidays to everyone!!! Have a good week, and enjoy each other!

(Thanks, graphics fairy for the best clip art ever!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

yes... another update

Oh yeah... we are gearing up for next week's Thanksgiving Holiday!!! 



I love to eat all the yummy food, visit with relatives, see my nieces and nephews and cousins, eat the yummy food (oh... did I already mention the yummy food?!), and visit with sweet, wise Grandma.  She always has the best advice, and the best yummy Thanksgiving food (I know, I've got to stop that)...

I am so thankful for my friends and family.  Truly, I am blessed beyond measure in the family support category.  I'd love to be able to see everyone all the time, whenever I want, but no one wants to live with me in my crazy life, in my crazy house, with the crazy kids because they are all doing their own crazy things.  I think that's why we celebrate holidays together.  It kind of knocks us down a notch or two... to see that everyone else is caught up in trying to live life and make good decisions and they are just as busy as we are.

In school this week, the kids and I have been reading about Mary and Elizabeth getting their miraculous news that they were to have sons.  Talk about crazy times: winged messengers, virgin conceptions, strange messages!  I can only imagine the huge, immense trust in God that these women needed to keep moving forward, and to keep living their crazy lives in their crazy times (and don't worry- I don't mean crazy like insane; I mean crazy like busy and getting ready to reveal miracles).  I admire that trust when I'm wondering only if we should have pizza (again, and really, the perfect food), or switch it up with a balanced Happy Meal from McDonald's!  These awesome women were carrying sons that were about to change history in the most profound way!  I can appreciate these women so much more now, because I am a mother, too.  Parenting is not always going my way... it's not even usually going my way... but I need to remember to have that TRUST.  God knows what He is doing.  It really is all about perspective, isn't it? 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

still here

I know, I know... keep in touch and all that stuff!  It's crazy time, and as usual I have just not had time for just ME (my blog time).  I love to write and post pictures!  I miss not checking in!  As we continue to gear up for the Nutcracker performance, though, I expect that my posts will be fewer... but I am praying constantly for my friends and family and all that may come across any of these musings of mine... that they may have purpose for someone, somewhere, somehow. 





Happy Veterans Day!  Happy (belated) Marine Corps Birthday!!  I am so very thankful for our military men and women... past, present, and future!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Greetings!!



We really enjoy Halloween as a celebration of Autumn and it gives us an easy excuse to dress up and be crazy for a bit.  We like the candy, too.  In the short-term, the candy is great, anyway, long-term may be not so good (think hyperactive children and expanding waistlines)... It's hard to resist a Reese's peanut-butter cup, or a Three Musketeers, or a Twizzler, or a ... well, you get the point.  We don't eat candy very often, and never without a good (or lame) excuse!



So I had a great, long (rare) conversation with one of my bestest friends last night.  The demands of home keeping and child raising deter our longer talks, usually, but last night was a gem.  It is incredibly awesome to be able to bare my soul, and not apologize for it, to another human.  I appreciate the blessing of her in my life and Praise God for the gift he has given me.  We share the challenge of raising children with special needs, so having each other's support and encouragement is especially beautiful... even when the situations and challenges we are facing are not so beautiful. So... God gives us what we need.  There is a purpose in everything.

Monday, October 25, 2010

sugar highs and lows

It's a week before Halloween, and we have one party down, one to go, and still trick or treating on the 31st... The sugar silliness and crankiness has began.  It is such a fun holiday, but my goodness... chocolate and sugar lend their way to crabbiness.   Oh well - I am guessing that I behaved similarly as a child.  And I can't deny that I like a good evening of chocolate and candy (and I am completely cranky the next day). So, the cycle continues.


a lovely ladybug, and a funky bunny



he's a dragon
 yes, he is under a table
(too much stimulation)
 I am struggling a bit emotionally right now because of various situations going on around me.  While I have many, many blessings (too many to count, really!), being human with human needs and desires and confusions tend to feed my anxious nature.  It hurts my heart to see loved ones struggle with their own demons and hurt those closest to them in the process of their struggles.  I hate to hear about friends discovering that they have cancer or arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome.  I feel helpless when good friends (best friends) lose their parents unexpectedly, and then other friends have to watch their parents demise slowly by diseases like Alzheimer's.  I'm even bothered that children (my children) can't seem behave rationally toward each other, and just get along (really? We are on the same team... it might be the candy, though).  My friend reminds me that this a world full of sinners, and that only by the grace of God are we able to forgive others, and continue to live well with a heart for Jesus.  It's a hard path to follow, though, I tell you!

So. Pray with me, please.  Pray for hope and generosity.  Pray for clarity and wisdom.  Pray for relationships and families and our children.  Pray for healing and charity.  And, of course, pray for a safe and happy Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bike DC

The view from the Lincoln Memorial

The kids and I rode bikes around Downtown DC on Monday.  The weather was beautiful, and our home school support network hosted this field trip as an opportunity to sight-see and enjoy each other's company.  I have to admit that I was a little (OK, a lot) nervous.  Our neighborhood is very hilly so we tend to not ride our bikes so much, but we did it!  The only complaining happened toward the end of our excursion (our hind-quarters are so sore -- all of us were complaining about the uncomfortable bike seats), and in the car (stop kicking my seat!) on the way home.


Mr. Lincoln


The White House
(you can't see the snipers on the roof, though)


looking up!


We saw National landmarks, but the kids will remember the Park Police horses!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

love?



Ahhh... such an animal lover.  Tommy and this kitten went nose to nose at the adoption/pet store.  We go weekly to torture ourselves, you know.  The kids and I desperately want a cat and are willing to take daily Zyrtec to make it work.  Alas, we have dissension among us... it would not be a unanimous decision, and indeed we (the kids and I) are accused of being (gasp!) crazy, so we (the kids and I) go to just look at the new arrivals every week.  They are awfully cute, and sweet, and cuddly... but they probably would make us sneeze. A lot.  Looking is good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Craftily Ever After: Free Keep Calm and SCARY On Printable!

OK... This was just too cute not to share with others... enjoy.  I've already printed it out and am off to hang it up somewhere in my house.  Have a very Happy Saturday!!!!

Craftily Ever After: Free Keep Calm and SCARY On Printable!: "Today I had the great honor of having my Eat, Drink and Be Scary printable featured on one of my favorite blogs, One Pretty Thing! Please cl..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

insomnia

Westmoreland State Park
Fossil hunting
It's late and I'm awake, but about to go get ready for bed.  I'm starring at all these wonderful, beautiful, creative blogs and just wishing that I was talented and savvy enough to make mine look THAT good!  Alas, it is just not to be.

Happy October.  It's busy. It's refreshing to be in a routine and have cooler weather.  It's great to see the sun actually shine today... it seems like it has been a very dreary week!  Lots of rain!

Rehearsals start for our Nutcracker performance this week.  We, meaning the children and I, are looking forward to it.  Committing to being a part of the production means committing to staying in town until Christmas time, but it makes the Fall fly by (just like the leaves falling off the trees - it happens over night). 

Halloween is coming, too... the kids love, love, love it.  We have probably no less than 30 costumes in this house, but they all want new stuff (no- not this year- look in your dress up stuff- hello! we have tons of old dance costumes)... - We're embracing our creativity this year and wearing what we already have. I. will. put. my. foot. down. no. new. costumes.

And with that, I'll hopefully have some way cool new pictures, soon!



nighty night!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

All dressed up... and somewhere to go!



We had a lovely evening! I couldn't wait to get my jammies back on, though, and Mark said his feet were killing him!

Cinderella

These were my musings yesterday afternoon...

Well, I guess I am about to go start getting ready...  Yep, tonight is the ball.  I haven't ever been to a ball.  If you ask my husband, he will tell you he really doesn't have any interest in even going, but, well, we kind of have to (because he is getting an award).  If there was no award, believe me, there would be no ball.

I've got to tell you though... despite the lack of enthusiasm, I can't help but be excited!

I spend my days in sweats, yoga wear, or tights and a leotard.  I sometimes wear jeans, which means I'm dressed up - according to my kids.  Lately, it's been shorts and a t-shirt because it has been so freaking hot! The last few days have been rainy, the remnant of some tropical storm, so we've had a few pajama days.  So... I am super ready to put on a ball gown. I'm even super ready to play with hair and makeup.....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

drama


I know life is full of it (drama, that is), and I know that hard things are going to happen in it (life, that is).  I know in my heart that I can't do it all.  I even know that my reward is not on this earth, and not long in coming to me.  Our lives are just a drop in the bucket, really, only an average of, like, 70 years, or something.  I know I have a greater purpose than the one I only think I'm aware of.  I know that He works in mysterious ways...

I don't know why, though, I feel sad and mad when I can't have things my way!  Actually, I do know that I feel that way because I'm human... no excuses, though... How I feel and what I do with those feelings is my responsibility (helloooo, therapy).

My Danielle is crying as I type.  Things, apparently, have gone really bad this week:  I snap too much (what!!?? me?!! how can you say that!!??).  Her friend is switching ballet studios (they don't have any classes together, but this is a terrible development).  Her other friend lives 3000+ miles away (you know who you are).  Her favorite new class (drama/music) at the dance studio has been cancelled.  I hold Katie at church (a problem, since Katie is now 7 years old-- forget that if I don't hold Katie, she wiggles and bounces and I can't pay attention).  What else?  The moon was full this week.  It's autumn, now.  It's going to rain for two days.

The point is... I can't have it all my way, and I can't make it so that my daughter has it all her way.  It isn't supposed to be that way.  Life is hard.  It shapes us.  She is only 9, but even this (right now) is part of what is going to make her who she is.  I want to make it so that my daughter (indeed, all my children, and my husband, for that matter) can have things the way they want them, but I can't.  And even then, where do I fit in?  I think I should be living mindfully, joyfully, and for God.  That is where our purpose is.  That is where our focus should be; not on the stuff of life, not on what we don't have or what didn't go our way...  It isn't about us.  I want to teach that to my kids (and my husband, for that matter).  I'm struggling, though, right now.  I am feeling kind of like I just can't get it right (and, actually, that is part of the answer, because I can't do any of it without the grace of God, and the love of Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit).  I'd love, though, to write about how I've reached this great epiphany about how it is all going to be so much better, but the truth of the matter is that I don't have all the answers, although I know the Bible is a good place to start. 

But,  I just don't know exactly how to help my daughter feel better right now (even snuggling and tickling didn't help).  That being said, it is ten o'clock at night and tomorrow is another day (and maybe I can talk the studio-owner into continuing the drama/music class, because that's exactly what I need, more drama, right?).

Pray, Love, Laugh, Pray some more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thank you, Military!


We went to the airshow in Virginia Beach last weekend, and had a really great time.  The weather was perfect; we actually all got a late-summer tan.  The jets are way cool!  The noise was phenomenal.  So, I think this is a picture of the FA-18 screaming over our heads! 

Thank you to all our soldiers and their families!  God Bless America!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

remember, listen, pray

Well, it is just a beautiful day.  The weather is fantastic, and it's Saturday.  It isn't really humid at all, and I've ordered the children outside.  I wish we could have this type of day all the time.  You know, a little cooler in the morning so you feel motivated enough to exercise (because you aren't going to melt into the sidewalk fried-egg style OR freeze your tushie off and slip on some ice), warm enough in the late morning to mid-afternoon so you don't feel guilty about ordering the children outside in 110 degree heat or 32 degree winter, and then cool enough in the evening to roast marshmallows (love, love, love those marshmallows), and maybe make smores (and not have to shower again because you've completely melted into the patio or deck or whatever the grill is sitting upon).  Anyway, I love this 70-80 degree/type weather.  It's perfect.  Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with a blue, clear sky.  Thanks for removing the humidity. Thanks for a nice breeze.  You know... Thanks for it all!

So... then why is it that I could feel sad on a day like today?  One obvious answer is the 9-11 anniversary, and too many people just don't remember it.  We have a picture on our wall that reminds us every day that freedom is precious, that life is precious, that this country is precious.  I pray for peace for the families who were affected by the events of 9-11.  I really hope for less hatred, less fear, and more understanding.  I know that remembering is important. 


Lady Liberty at the Marine Corps Museum

Other reasons for sadness... well... just pray for good decisions, and peace.  I really feel a bit confused about some things going on in my life.  I'm trying to listen to what the Lord wants from me, and to tune out what I think is very, very wrong.  So, lets just all pray for each other, together, this week.  Pray for family strength, for peaceful solutions, for LOVE.

Happy Patriot Day!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Danielle's quilt!


She finished her second quilt, and I'm so proud of her. I, myself,
don't think I have the patience for such an endeavour!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

fungi


 I know it is a little weird, but I am fascinated by mushrooms!  We went on a hike last week to Prince William Forest Park, and we saw tons of mushrooms, of all different variety.  The whole forest even smelled strongly of mushrooms.  Did you know that the tops are only a small part of the fungi life system?  The 'mushroom' part is only the "tip of the ice -burg" (so to speak);  the part that is underground is huge!



And of course it is fun to imagine little fairies and gnomes living in this little community!

Friday, September 3, 2010

hope


I haven't posted in over a week.  I know because my daughter is gleefully reminding me that she posted more recently than me.  I've been a bit under the weather with headaches that want to cluster together.  I've started our school year.  I've had that pesky situation lately where no one wants to compromise (not the eldest, not the middle, not the youngest, and not the husband)... so I've been tired.  I know... a lot of "I's".

I have faith, and I have Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.  I have the saints and the Rosary.  I have a lot of wonderful books, and I have my Bible. 

But, I'm still a bit tired.  So, my prayer warriors and my sweet, sweet friends: pray with me!  I pray for strength and wisdom.  I pray for all the marriages I know.  I pray for all the mothers I know.  These times are trying (hurricanes, earthquakes, smoking babies (?!), economy, Breaking Dawn doesn't come out until 2011) - but have hope, and faith, and a smile! 

God does not give us a heart of fear... And all He does is for good and not evil...

We are enjoying the Labor Day weekend at Wintergreen!  The mountains and fresh air are so nice.  Nature is amazing and wondrous (and a bit buggy). It should be a fun weekend filled with swimming, hiking and the best kettle corn around!

May everyone have a super weekend!

Monday, August 23, 2010

the weekend

This last weekend was a mini vacation for me.  I really didn't cook until Sunday when the kids came back home (and it was frozen food). 

So, what to do? Go ape, of course!  Mark picked the activity, and though I was a tad leery at first (I admit it... a little nervous), we had a good time.  I actually had a great time!  It was hot (and humid... August in NoVA), but the breeze in the trees was good.  Climbing and zip lining were very good.  The Tarzan swing... scary but very, very good (I wasn't expecting the bungee style drop, I was expecting to just swing out).


yes, we are, like, 30 feet up

the man... no big deal for him

zipping!

Also, here are a few pictures of Danielle, the dancer.  Her friend's mom was practicing on Danielle so she would be ready for her daughter when it was her daughter's turn to dance.  I'm so glad she did!  She (the photographer) is very gifted! 


"the power"

"puttin' on the Ritz"